Chinese President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif met ‘several times’ during the recently-held Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in Astana, Kazakhstan, China said Monday.
Beijing’s statement comes days after reports said Xi had skipped a customary meeting with Sharif at the SCO summit after two Chinese teachers were murdered in Balochistan last week.
“Some reports are just nonsense and unwanted,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said, according to the Press Trust of India. “China and Pakistan enjoy an all-weather strategic partnership.”
However, the spokesperson did not confirm if the meetings between Xi and Sharif were bilateral in nature or not.
On June 8, it was reported that two Chinese citizens who were kidnapped from Quetta by the militant Islamic State group had been killed.
China had condemned the incident saying the abduction highlighted the ‘risks’ associated with the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, the Hindustan Times had reported.
Last week it was reported that Xi had held meetings with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev, except Sharif at the SCO summit.
Meanwhile, it was also reported that PM Nawaz had met with the presidents of Kazakhstan, Russia and Afghanistan, but did not meet Xi.
Lu said all member nations at the summit had agreed to “build on the Shanghai spirit” and step up the cooperation between the new and old members.
“The summit has realised the first-ever membership enlargement of the SCO,” Lu said. “As you know India and Pakistan have got full membership.”
The spokesperson further said that the summit appreciated the Belt Road Forum which was held in Beijing last month. This forum was boycotted by India over concerns relating to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project.
SCO membership: a new beginning
Pakistan was made a full permanent member of The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), along with India during the organization’s 16th summit held in Astana, Kazakhstan. It was indeed a “historic day” as the Prime Minister rightly put it. The full membership of the SCO not only advances Pakistan’s positive image internationally, but also be having tangible political, security and economic dividends. Pakistan has always talked about increased economic cooperation between the regional countries and beyond, Now that Pakistan has become a full member of the SCO, along with India, It has an opportunity to put his vision to the test and bring Pakistan among the connected hub of international trade and economic activity that its unique geographical position promises.